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Want Better Emotional Health? Unplug

Is life stressing you out? Do you feel more anxious than normal? Under an emotional cloud? It may be time to unplug.

While modern technology is amazing and can be helpful, some very real downsides exist to its overuse. Your mental health can really benefit from unplugging for a while and just getting more “real.”

Why unplug?

Social interaction – Spending time with friends or loved ones can give you an emotional boost. It can lighten your mood and give you a sense of belonging and security.

Get outside – Exercise, sunshine and fresh air benefits your overall well-being – physical, mental and emotional. Take a stroll. Work in your garden. Ride a bike. Meditate. Monitor if your mood improves.

Less comparison – Let’s face it. Social media is fantasyland at times. Is everyone really as happy as they seem? When you bombard yourself with social media, you may feel like you are the only one who is struggling in life. You are not.

What are the benefits?

Reduced anxiety – The internet and social media often thrives on bad news and contentious arguments. Constant exposure to them can create anxiety, depression or, worse, a combination of both.

Increased focus – Social media use analytics to trick the brain to seek instant gratification. The more we scroll, the more we want to scroll. This semi-mind control makes it much harder for us to focus on tasks or any projects for very long.

Better sleep – Exposure to the blue light of computers and mobile devices and the constant mental stimulation of online content can make it more difficult to fall asleep at bedtime. Unplugging a couple of hours before bed can make you relax and calm you.

How do I unplug?

Make a conscious decision to make a change.

Set time limits and stick to them.

Turn off social media and email notifications. Without constant reminders, you won’t be as tempted to keep checking your messages.

Be creative. Paint, write, hike, read or tackle home improvement projects.

Change your environment. Go on a travel adventure. Sure, take a selfie, but keep it just for yourself and keep walking and exploring.

Just do it

Shut your laptop. Put away your phone. Turn off your television.

Remember technology was made for you. You weren’t made for technology.

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